New membership plan highlighted in Nature Center’s 30th-year event

       A new drive by the Bear Creek Nature Center to build a multi-level membership base will be kicked off by a free event - the Bear Creek by Candlelight Open House Celebration - Friday, Dec. 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. The event will also commemorate the center's 30th anniversary at 245 Bear Creek Road (southeast of the intersection with Lower Gold Camp Road.)
       “Bundle up for a magical evening walk on candlelit luminaria trails along Bear Creek, and warm up indoors while enjoying classical and contemporary guitar music, interactive activities, good company, holiday treats, hot cider, cocoa, and more,” reads a press release for the celebration. The event is open to the public.
       According to Todd Marts of the Nature Center, the membership organization will augment the longstanding volunteer docent group that provides interpretive programs and services for the center. “Some people have wanted to contribute, but didn't have time to be a volunteer,” he pointed out. And, earnings from memberships will give the center a financial boost, he added.
       There are seven annual membership levels, ranging from Friend ($20, which earns “basic benefits” - the center newsletter and annual report) to Steward ($1,000, which earns basic benefits, plus $100 in “Nature Center bucks” to use for center fee costs, a free rental of the soon-to-open Outdoor Classroom and their name(s) imprinted on the center's stewardship plaque). Other levels, with benefits increasing at each level, are Contributor ($30), Advocate ($50), Sustainer ($100), Guardian ($250) and Champion ($500).
       Overseen by the El Paso County Parks Department, the Nature Center provides year-round programs, exhibits, hikes and special events.
       No reservations are necessary for the open house. For more information, call 520-6387.

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